THERE was a palpable tension at
Ikeinghenbiri community in Southern
Ijaw Local Government Area of
Bayelsa State, as residents flee the
area following a clash between rival
armed groups at an oilfield operated
by Eni’s Nigerian Agip Oil Company,
NAOC.
The activities of the militants have
caused a huge drop in oil production
in Nigeria by almost 40% to 1.4
millions barrels per day.
A resident said yesterday that the
groups were struggling for control of
the Ogboinbiri-Tebidaba crude trunk
line which passed through the area.
Mr Ebidimo Joseph said that
residents were scared and were
leaving to neighbouring villages for
cover.
“We understand it is a conflict
between two armed groups for the
access to the crude pipeline, one group
claims to be working to safeguard the
pipeline andsaid the other group are
vandals, they have been shooting.
“The sound of the gunfire is scaring
and there is no sign of the Joint Task
Force soldiers who are supposed to be
patrolling the area, we have not seen
any soldier,” Joseph said
According to Joseph, the pipeline
was set ablaze while the two groups
engaged each other in gun battle,
adding that there was no way to
ascertain if there was any casualty yet. He said that “thick cloud of smoke”
had enveloped the community and
polluted the atmosphere in the area.
Efforts to get comments from Col.
Isa Ado, spokesman of the joint
military force deployed to protect oil
infrastructure in the Niger Delta were
futile, as he declined to take calls put
to his mobile phone.
However, it was learnt that the
state commandant of the Nigeria
Security and Civil Defence Corps,
NSCDC, Desmond Agu confirmed
the incident and said that one of the
militants identified as Peregbakumo
was arrested with the help of the
community.
Agu further said that, “At about
0300hrs, a gang of armed youths
allegedly led by one Suoyou, Iyelawei
and Fyneboy, all of Ikienghenbiri
community, Southern Ijaw Local
Government Area, vandalised
pipeline along Azuzuama area of
the Tebidaba-Brass pipeline with
dynamites and ignited fire on the
line.”
Nigerian Pilot, however, gathered
that investigation is on while a
manhunt for the perpetrators is on.
Meanwhile, a statement issued
yesterday in Yenagoa by the Bayelsa
State Commissioner for Information
and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite,
said the pipeline vandals were
apprehended by youths of Azuzuama
community, who got wind of the
planned action They were arrested with the
support of operatives of the NSCDC
and one of them was shot in the leg
while trying to escape.
Obuebite expressed delight
that the arrests were coming on
the heels of Governor Seriake
Dickson’s meeting with traditional
rulers and chairmen of community
development communities where
the governor directly placed the
responsibility of maintaining peace
and safeguarding oil facilities in
their domains on their shoulders.
The commissioner praised the
youths of Azuzuama “for their
gallantry, patriotic disposition
and commitment to the peace and
economic well being of the state and
Nigeria as a whole.”
According to him, Dickson will
“invite them and reward them for
responding positively to his clarion
call when it mattered most.”
Obuebite also called on other
communities to emulate the
Azuzuama community, adding
that “if every other communities
can act in like manner, the current
wave of attacks on national assets
and related criminal acts will
be drastically minimised, if not
completely eliminated.”
He reassured community leaders
and youths of government’s
preparedness to continue to support
and partner with them in the
protection of lives and property


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